PSI - Issue 49

Amirpasha Moetazedian et al. / Procedia Structural Integrity 49 (2023) 10–15 Amirpasha Moetazedian et al. / Structural Integrity Procedia 00 (2023) 000 – 000



1. Introduction Next generation, non-animal technologies have the potential to replace in vivo animal models in bioscience research. Complex 3D tissue models are one of several technologies anticipated to deliver this potential. Due to its speed, accuracy and versatility, 3D-bioprinting is showing much promise in producing artificial tissues (Moetazedian et al. 2022). However, key challenges need to be addressed before 3D-bioprinting can fulfill its potential. These include: (i) inability to reproduce tissue hierarchy below 100 μm (Fig. 1a); and (ii) mechanical damage on cells during bioprinting. Cells experience shear and extensional force during extrusion bioprinting, leading to 10-60% of the printed cells undergoing necrosis depending on the extrusion process. Thus, success depends on preventing or minimising mechanical cell damage. To overcome these issues, microfluidics-enabled 3D bioprinting has been explored as a smarter printing strategy. Microfluidic devices are normally produced from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), due to its affordability, biocompatibility for implantable devices (Au et al 2014). The process is well-known (Gale et al 2018, Kim et al. 2008) and involves a series of manufacturing processes, making it expensive, time-consuming, resource-heavy and difficult for wider adoption (Gale et al 2018, Kim et al. 2008, Guerra et al. 20018). All of this drives the costs high, with individual chips costing more than $200 (Gale et al 2018, Kim et al. 2008, Guerra et al. 20018). With increasing emphasis on translation and low- cost microfluidic devices, such fabrication methods are facing a ‘ manufacturability roadblock ’ (Bhattacharjee et al. 2016). Additive manufacturing (AM) platforms offer an exciting solution to overcoming this manufacturing roadblock. AM is transforming research and industrial sectors thanks to its capacity to fabricate bespoke parts rapidly and reproducibly with intricate geometries (Moetazedian et al. 2021). In recent years, AM technologies have gained considerable investment from the healthcare sector as they enable the development of drug-delivery devices, patient specific implants, and 3D in vitro tissue models. With latest developments in custom toolpaths for AM, there has been new opportunities to explore the production of high-value 3D-printed parts such as microfluidic devices (Gleadall 2021, Quero et al 2021). Of AM technologies, material extrusion additive manufacturing (MEAM) is the most affordable, that makes it an ideal option for manufacturing readily-accessible microfluidic devices (Lee at al. 2014). However, the state-of-the-art MEAM microfluidics suffer from low optical transparency, low resolution, difficulties in achieving leak-free structures, poor surface finish (R a ≈ 10.9 µm vs 0.35 µm for laser-based AM) and limited capabilities to create complex structures, which is limiting their application and translation (Macdonald et al. 2017). To tackle these challenges, we have developed a novel 3D bioprinting workflow (Moetazedian et al. 2023) employing 3D-printed microfluidic chips to produce complex structures (Fig. 1b). Our microfluidic chips integrate microfluidic mixers and hydrodynamic flow focusing components to simultaneously deliver various hydrogels and cells through a narrow nozzle. The fluidic chips enable extrusion of complex architectures including core-shell and multi-material fibres (Fig. 1c).

Nomenclature ABS

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

AM Additive Manufacturing FDM Fused deposition modelling FFF Fused filament fabrication MEAM Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing PDMS Polydimethylsiloxane

2. Methodology White Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filament (Rasie3D® Premium ABS) with 1.75 mm diameter was used to manufacture microfluidic channels using a Creality Ender 3 V2 machine. Sylgard® 184 and its curing agent (PDMS, Dow Corning) was used as a matrix to embed the ABS channels. The nozzle’s temperature was set at 2 40°C to extrude

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